Kantor 2.0: New Cricoteka Opens In Krakow

Cricoteka, photo: Agnieszka Oprządek
Cricoteka, photo: Agnieszka Oprządek

The new Cricoteka opens on 13 September 2014 at Nadwiślańska St in the former power station overlooking Wisła bank in Krakow’s Podgórze district, marking the beginning of the first art institution in Poland dedicated to an individual artist. The concept behind the programme of the Centre has been inspired by the entirety of Kantor’s work as well as the collection of archive materials and theatrical objects, viewed from the perspective of contemporary art discourse and new methodology.
Cricoteka had always been a dream of Tadeusz Kantor, a renowned Polish theatre personality, and a person behind the famous Cricot and Cricot2 theatre groups. The artist had dreamed of "an unprecedented place, one which combines in its form and function: a visual sphere (the exhibition, the collection, reconstruction of stage sets), the academic and archival (the archive, the reading room), the didactic (lectures, study texts, experimental atelier), whilst leaving room for living artistic events", Kantor said in 1980.  
The dream came true that very year, and Cricoteka, the then Centre of the Cricot 2 Theatre, found its seat at 5 Kanonicza Street (now the seat of the Centre’s archives). For almost ten years, the institution has been the cornerstone of Kantor’s avant-garde theatre, as well as a ‘living archive’ of his theatrical creation. However, fitting the unique collection of Kantor’s works and making them available for research in the modest space available, started to become a problem over the years. The oeuvre comprises of several hundred objects and costumes from the Cricot 2 Theatre, Kantor’s theoretical papers, drawings and design works, video records, and photographic documentation as well as thousands of reviews, journals and books.
The original form of the new Cricoteka building pays architectural homage to the internationally acclaimed artist, and at the same time, the contemporary structure represents a creative adaptation of the former Podgórze Power Station. The project draws on examples of what has been acknowledged as best practice in the revitalisation of post-industrial buildings and their adaptation as cultural centres, museums and art galleries, such as Tate Modern in London or the CaixaForum in Madrid. In keeping with its ambitious architectural design, the new space will transform the functioning of the institution, enabling it to receive and host large-scale cultural events that, up until now, Cricoteka has been carrying out in a number of other, dispersed venues. Tadeusz Kantor’s own aim will at last be fulfilled: the creation of a venue fit for a live artistic event.
Simultaneously with the opening of the new Cricoteka venue in Nadwiślańska Street, the Tadeusz Kantor Gallery Studio at 7/5 Sienna Street will embark on a new series of exhibitions presenting a unique collection of Tadeusz Kantor’s drawings. These drawings, from the Collection A, have never been exhibited in that venue in their entirety. The exhibition intends to provide the fullest possible presentation, in a series of instalments, Collection A, and Collection A Annex, both on deposit at the National Museum in Krakow. The exhibition of the drawings will supplement the subsequent editions of the permanent exhibition of Tadeusz Kantor’s oeuvre in the new venue.


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